10.03.07

Novell’s Business and the Curse of Investors/Marketers

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, GPL, Marketing, Novell at 10:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell blinded by money

Original image from Wikimedia

Let’s just face it. Many people who are in marketing and finance are not intimately familiar with technical computing (if at all). By “technical computing”, narrower knowledge of individual applications is assumed to be excluded.

” It remains to be learned if Novell fell victim to money-blinded ignorance”Novell can be defended for submitting to various external forces and pressures. Novell’s shareholders are likely to have miscomprehended the way Free software operates. Philosophy plays a role as well. They must have treated software as a commodity that is bought, i.e. consumed through payments. In reality, a complex system like an entire operating system involves many thousands of developers who work not just for money, but also for a goal which is unassociated with money.

To investors (and maybe to Novell’s management too), the idea of delivering “what the customers asked for” completely escaped (or neglected) an important factor which is the supplier. Without an ‘army’ of volunteer developers, where would Novell be? Just the stagnating proprietary software products and business.

A lot more could be said about Novell’s failure to address the needs of the customer in the long-term (embracing Microsoft is a shortcut only a short-term solution), but the key argument against Novell is the betrayal of developers who have worked hard for over 20 years. I too am a developer of GPL-licensed software. It remains to be learned if Novell fell victim to money-blinded ignorance.

Microsoft Unleashes the Death Trap to Mono (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO at 8:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There you have it.

Microsoft has just moved its chess piece (or “cheese trap”) by supposedly opening up .NET. .NET is bound to become shared source. The OSI debate is not very relevant here (shared source isn’t acceptable as “Open Source”, yet), but the ‘SCO factor’ now comes into play. In an excellent new article, Steven Vaughan-Nichols explains why the cat is out of the bag.

Mono is sponsored by Novell. It’s led by noted open-source developer Miguel de Icaza. The Mono code is covered by three different real open-source licenses. The C# Compiler and tools are released under the terms of the GPLv2 (GNU General Public License); the runtime libraries are under the LGPL 2.0 (GNU Library GPL 2); and the class libraries are released under the terms of the MIT 11 license.

[...]

Microsoft, however, is baiting its trap for Mono programmers with .NET cheese. They’ll claim, come that day, about how open it was in letting people look, but not touch, their code. With the combination of “proof” that some Mono code has been stolen from Microsoft and its attempt to muddy the waters about what open source really means, it can look forward to having a much better chance of killing off an open-source project than SCO ever had with Linux

If you ever, and I mean ever, want to write open-source code, I recommend you not come within a mile of Microsoft’s .NET Framework code or any other similar projects that the boys from Redmond “open” up.

If you do, you’re nibbling on the cheese of a trap that will eventually snap shut on you and kill up your program and quite possibly your job and finances.

While Novell is betting on Mono, it would be dangerous to bet on Novell.

Nomo
No mo’, Novell

Update: Miguel de Icaza praises Microsoft about the move but cannot hide his disappointment with the choice of licence. It is subtle, yet transparent.

Does this disruptive development finally show everyone why Novell’s love affair with Mono isn’t such a great idea? Does it teach us just why Novell, which fosters this project and makes its desktop more Mono-oriented, doing it for selfish interests? Only Novell is ‘protected’ for the use of Mono (this protection will last for another 4 years and then expire). Even Xandros and Linspire are not ‘protected’ (Mon is excluded explicitly in their deal with Microsoft).

Microsoft is fooling everyone and works with Novell on poisoning the well we all drink from.

Chris Pirillo’s Disclosure and the UNIX/Linux Conspiracy Theory

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SLES/SLED, UNIX at 7:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It wasn’t until LinuxToday cited it that we noticed a curious conspiracy theory.

Microsoft realized with XP that the NT kernel’s days were numbered, which is why they talked of the complete rewrite that was to be Longhorn / Vista (and be wonderful and ship in 2003, etc). Well with all of the efforts that went into that, and Vista basically becoming what would’ve happened to Apple if it truly had shipped Copland, Microsoft finds itself in a bind. Obviously they need to support the product they shipped, which is where SP1 and its successors come in. However, I think we’ll see some behind the scenes action regarding their fight against OSF and the Linux folks and we’ll see how this evolves into the next version of Windows.

[...]

Coincidentally, at that time, Microsoft paid for their “license” and apparently immediately set out on a cross licensing agreement with various Linux manufacturers over some IP they claim to have patents for, but won’t show the code (the SCO maneuver). Oddly enough, one of those vendors who they are working with on cross licensing is *Novell* who owns SUSE Linux and the UNIX source code. Now Microsoft has worked directly with two companies who at the very least claim to hold the UNIX code.

This type of analysis isn’t quite so insane and it shouldn’t labeled a “conspiracy theory” if there are logical arguments that can support it. Recall what we wrote about Vista/Longhorn and about Novell’s ‘inheritance’ of UNIX from SCO. While Microsoft cannot ever own Linux (no-one truly can), UNIX is a different matter. Also, what if Microsoft ever decided to ‘mix and match’ code using Novell as a Linux developer/insider/subsidiary? Remember that SUSE Linux aligns with Microsoft’s business model and interests. Microsoft receives an income percentage for Linux sales made by Novell.

It absolutely must be remembered that Novell is now dependent on Microsoft.

Microsoft ZUN

Patent Abuse Identified, Patent Abuse Comes Under Fire, Patent Storm Ended, and Patents That Kill

Posted in Hardware, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poor patents hurt the poor

Returning to our series of posts which highlight the problem with poor patents, here are some news.

Slashdot has identified a rather disturbing patent from IBM. This patent has prior art written all over it and if only you could count the number of applications that use checkboxes, would you realise the scope of impact.

What do you call it when you drag a pointer over a checkbox to select or deselect it depending on its original state? Answer: US Patent 7,278,116. On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded IBM a patent for Mode Switching for Ad Hoc Checkbox Selection, aka Making an ‘X’.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Qualcomm case that we repeatedly speak of has attracted the wrath of antitrust action.

The European Commission launched on Monday formal antitrust proceedings against U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm after complaints that its patent licensing for third-generation mobile telephones broke competition rules.

Another case that we recently mentioned used WLAN as an example of cases where patents hurt progress. Fortunately, that issue may have just been resolved.

A roadblock that reportedly could have held up a key wireless LAN standard seems to have been cleared now that an Australian research group has responded to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) standards body.

Here is Jamie Love talking about situations where patents cost lives.

Could a Microsoft Appeal Deny Fee/Patent-free Interoperability?

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Protocol, Servers at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is is worth keeping an eye on Europe where Microsoft recently lost its appeal and was requested to disclose proprietary protocols — broken bridges which it had maintained in order to stifle competition. The latest word from Europe indicates that there is a chance of Microsoft procrastinating by letting the judgment go on forever in the courts.

The Sept. 17 ruling by the EU’s Court of First Instance means “there is a clear set of guidance for us, and we move on in that environment,” he [for Microsoft] told lawmakers.

Here is another article on this matter and one which praises Thomas Vinje for his important win.

The Clifford Chance partner who acted in support of the EC’s ruling that Microsoft had abused its dominance

Microsoft has not yet responded to requests for documentation (or at least so it seems). Unless this returns to the courtroom, all Linux distributors will be able to receive the benefits that Novell paid for, but for free. This would render parts of Novell’s deal moot.

Related articles:

Oops! OpenSUSE 10.3 for Just £3,308

Posted in Humour, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Register points out a funny mistake in Novell’s Web site. It’s an amusing article that ends with:

Of course, open source conspiracy theorists (and shockingly, they do exist) will cry that this is a direct result of Novell’s recently enacted policy of appeasement towards the Beast of Redmond.

Steve Ballmer license

Image from Wikimedia

Novell Forks OpenOffice.org

Posted in Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, SUN, Windows at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Sun Microsystems way and the Novell way

Here we go. An idea that we have been kicking around for quite some time (since last year, in fact) has been officially made a reality. Novell is taking its own direction with OpenOffice.org.

“Novell is making OpenOffice.org incompatible with itself.”Remind yourselves of Novell’s ‘special’ edition of OpenOffice.org, which only works in Windows and has some different legal implications. Also recall what we said back in March: Novell is making OpenOffice.org incompatible with itself.

Many of these discussions began last year when Groklaw grokked some stuff about Novell forking OpenOffice.org — a contention that Shane was quick to defend.

So, here we are less than a year later. Novell keeps taking its own route. It will be interesting to see where this work is going and how it develops. How does IBM fit into this picture with Symphony?

Meet the Latest Victim of Microsoft Deals: Bungie

Posted in Deals, Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Honeymoons do not last forever

Some time ago, in a post that concentrates on Cisco, we provided many examples of cases where Microsoft betrays its business partners. We urge you to read this if you haven’t. Here is the latest example:

According to the email Microsoft was interfering with various aspects of Bungie’s business. It claims Voles were fiddling in everything Bungie did, from marketing to public relations. According to the email, Microsoft was also “stingy” with profits.

Novell, are you watching?

Jim Allchin on Novell

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